Crime & Courts

Charlotte man gets 13 years for carjacking family’s vehicle at gas station

A Charlotte man was sentenced Wednesday to at least 13 years in prison for carjacking a family’s vehicle at a gas station.

Xavier Shiheen Mills, 23, pleaded guilty in November to carjacking and possession of firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.

In January 2015, Mills carjacked the vehicle of a woman, her teenage son and her children ages 3 and 4, court records show.

The family had stopped at a Charlotte gas station to refill their car when Mills approached the woman at the gas pump. He pointed a firearm at her and demanded the car keys, which were in the car, according to court records.

Mills entered the car to look for the keys, pointed the gun at a male sitting in the passenger seat and hit him in the head with the gun, prosecutors said.

Once the male victim was out of the car, Mills fired his gun and the bullet entered a nearby parked, unoccupied vehicle, according to court records. The bullet whizzed through a child’s car seat and the driver’s headrest.

The male victim then gave Mills the keys. The victim pulled the two young children out before Mills drove away with the car.

Court records show that Mills was captured on surveillance video and was identified by someone who knew him and recognized the red backpack Mills was carrying at the time.

Police recovered the stolen car a few days later. Inside the stolen vehicle, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police found Mills’ backpack, ammunition and the firearm used to carry out the carjacking, court records indicate.

“Mills turned a family’s quick stop at a gas station into a nightmare, terrorizing them and carelessly putting their lives, and the lives of other bystanders, in danger,” U.S. Attorney Jill Rose said in a statement.

“Thankfully, no loss of life occurred,” Rose said. “Mills is headed to federal prison, but this family will continue to feel the effects of this harrowing experience for a long time.”

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak